A very wide range of patients are seen in the epilepsy and neurology clinics – and advice given to you about how best to prepare for an appointment will vary according to your specific condition.
If you have seizures or other events in which you lose consciousness, it is helpful to bring a friend or relative who has witnessed the events to help give a good description of what happens whilst you are unaware
You will be provided with an appointment letter – and in many cases may have had your appointment confirmed for you by text. Following the Coronavirus outbreak, many appointments are carried out over the telephone or video instead of face to face. Your appointment letter will specify the type of appointment you are scheduled for.
The location of the main hospital site (at Queen Square) is provided in the following link. The hospital is relatively small, but there are three main outpatient areas – your appointment letter should indicate where to go. The main outpatient clinics are in “Basil Samuel outpatient department” in the main hospital building, 33 Queen Square or the Royal London Hospital for Integrated Medicine (RLHIM).
For more information on appointments at Sir William Gowers Centre in Chalfont St-Peter, please follow this link.
If this is your first appointment, it is likely that you will be asked detailed questions about your condition and also your past medical history.
A “new patient” consultation is considerably longer than a GP appointment and 30 minutes are usually provided. Even during 30 minutes it may not be possible to cover all aspects of your condition and it is very helpful if you are prepared for the type of questions you may be asked
Please download a questionnaire, which contains many of the questions you may be asked. You can then hand this to your doctor – and will help them complete a report of your condition following their appointment. You may also receive the questionnaire by post with your appointment letter.
In all cases, please bring ALL the medications that you currently taking, or an up to date list of medications you are taking and their doses – even those not used for epilepsy – as these lists are not automatically shared between your GP and neurologist.
At your appointment you may be seen by the consultant, specialist registrar or other doctor in the team who work together with your consultant. If you have any preferences as to what member of the team you would prefer to see, please let the outpatient staff know.
You are welcome to bring a family member or carer with you – this can be very helpful, particularly after the appointment to help discuss the consultation. But larger groups are likely to distract you and your doctor during the appointment, and in general terms are discouraged.
Particularly at the first appointment, it is often very helpful to bring along someone who might have seen seizures you may have suffered. Even if they cannot attend, their written account or a video of your episodes can be very helpful. The witness need not stay for the whole appointment – and it is understood that you may prefer them to step out of the consultation while more details about your condition are discussed.
Most appointments occur “on time”, within 30 minutes of your appointment time. But occasionally, when individual patients are less well, emergency appointments have occurred or longer consultations are needed by other patients, clinics may be delayed. In these situations, outpatient staff will keep you briefed about the reasons for any delay and provide you with their best estimate about when you will be seen. Refreshments are available in the clinic area.
During your appointment you may have a physical examination in which your doctor tests for example motor and sensory function. This is not uncomfortable, but it can be useful if you are wearing loose fitting clothes and shoes that are easy to remove. Chaperones are available for all examinations and please express any concerns that you may have. It may be recommended that you undergo further investigations – and some tests (such as blood testing or cardiac assessment) can be performed on the day of the appointment. Staff will endeavour to complete these investigations as soon as possible. If you have specific deadlines or restrictions please let outpatient staff know, and we will be as flexible as possible within the constraints we work under.